“Recently, there’s been 36 workplace fatalities reported in Singapore this year, of which 5 occurred last month. In comparison, there were 37 fatalities recorded for the whole of last year and 30 fatalities recorded in 2020”
“In first half of 2022, MOM took enforcement action against more than 9,000 workplace safety breaches – double the number of such breaches in the same period last year”
Companies have been ordered to review safety procedures and take timeouts. This is because of an increase in the number of workplace fatalities and injuries.
Companies in high-risk fields will be required to review safety procedures during the mandatory safety time-out announced by the Ministry of Manpower on Thursday (Sept. 1). The Ministry of Manpower said companies must conduct the safety time-out or else their ability to employ new foreign employees will be suspended for one month.
This is the first time a mandatory safety-time out has been imposed for Singaporean companies. In a press statement on Thursday (1 September 2022), MOM said the length of the safety time-out should also be “sufficiently long” to review risks corresponding to the scale of their operations.
Safety time-out is applied to:
– All companies in the following sectors – Construction, Manufacturing, Marine, Process, Transportation, and storage
– All companies that use very big trucks, buses, cranes or any other heavy vehicles
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, speaking to media reporters, on sept 1. He said while he understands that companies are still getting adjusted to the new work tempo, workplace safety can’t be compromised.
To strengthen workplace safety, MOM introduced a six-month “heightened safety” period, which takes effect from Sept 1 till Feb 28.
This policy would make companies who have serious workplace safety violations and senior management more accountable for their actions. The measures to deal with inadequate workplace safety conditions and poor risk controls related to serious or fatal accidents are a few of the new initiatives. These companies may be temporarily restricted from hiring new foreign employees for up to three months following an accident.
MOM will be requiring that the CEO and senior management of these companies will have to account to MOM on rectifications personally. More than half of workplace fatalities and injuries this year have occurred at small or medium-sized business (SMEs). Mr.Zaqy said MOM will expanding an existing program that will help SMEs identify safety and health risks and best practices in the workplace.
Mr.Zaqy asked, as part of the ‘safety time out’, MOM to consider requiring all companies in high-risk sectors conduct a workplace safety and health audit, done by a professional external auditor.